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Pets are a source of love and joy to many people across the United States. In fact, pet parents often treat their fur babies like members of the family. It’s little wonder why these owners want to invest in products that will keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable. These include goods like premium food, grooming supplies, custom dog beds, and toys.

If you have a fur baby of your own, you might also want to consider adding pet insurance to their list of necessities. Read on to learn more about how this can help you and your pet during times of need:

How Pet Insurance Can Help You Safeguard against Costly Accidents and Illnesses

Purchasing insurance might not seem like a worthwhile endeavor if your pet rarely falls ill or gets injured. However, accidents and injuries are often unpredictable, so it’s always good to be financially prepared when they do strike.

Typically, accidents and illnesses can cause veterinary bills to skyrocket. For example, if your dog tears their ACL, the cost of surgery can reach up to USD 3,300—an amount that many Americans would have difficulty covering out of pocket. Serious conditions like cancer usually require treatments that cost as high as USD 5,000. In certain grave scenarios, an owner may be left with no choice but to euthanize their beloved pet should they be unable to shoulder the costs of their treatments.

Keeping this in mind, insurance can be a lifesaver—quite literally—when the unexpected occurs. If you’re thinking of insuring your pet, below are a few things you need to consider:

The Coverage of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance coverage can vary, depending on the plan you choose. Typically, there are two types of plans that should cover you in case your pet experiences an unfortunate event.

Accident plans, as the name implies, only cover injuries. For instance, if your pet swallows a poisonous item, tears a ligament during physical activity, or gets hit by a vehicle, then their treatment can be covered by this plan. This kind of plan is often preferred by owners who have senior pets, as older animals aren’t usually eligible for accident and illness plans.

On that note, the most comprehensive type of plan—and the one that’s often highly recommended—is the accident and illness plan. It usually covers chronic conditions, breed-specific conditions, dental illnesses, emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic tests, broken bones, poison ingestion, and prescription medications.

Before choosing your insurance plan, it’s worth noting that most plans don’t cover pre-existing health conditions. Essentially, any conditions that your pet had prior to the insurance taking effect are not covered. For example, if your senior cat was already diagnosed with diabetes before you purchased insurance, it will likely not be accounted for. Hence, it’s best to start purchasing pet insurance while your furry companion is still young and healthy.

Deductibles, Reimbursements, and Coverage Caps of Pet Insurance

Once you avail of pet insurance, you’ll often be required to pay a deductible cost. This is your fee for medical services before your insurer starts covering the expenses. Usually, most deductibles can cost you around USD 50 to 1000.

After you’ve paid your deductible, you’ll need to choose your reimbursement level. This is the percentage of expenses that your insurer will cover for veterinary services. Most insurance companies offer 70, 80, or 90 percent reimbursements, although some can offer levels as high as 100 percent.

Lastly, your insurer may allow you to choose your coverage cap per year. Some companies even offer unlimited coverage, which is something worth looking into.

The Cost of Pet Insurance

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the annual cost of an accident and illness insurance would be around USD 594 for dogs and USD 342 for cats. If you avail of an accident-only plan, then the cost would decrease to USD 218 for dogs and USD 134 for cats.

However, these are only rough estimates. The exact cost of your pet insurance will depend on factors like your location and your pet’s breed, age, and gender. Some dog or cat breeds are more susceptible to certain health conditions, which may raise insurance costs. Insurance costs may also arise if you own an older pet, as they’re likely to experience more health issues. On the other hand, female pets are considered low risk for health conditions, so this may decrease your insurance premiums.

Lastly, vet expenses often vary based on location. If vet fees are pricey in your area, your coverage cost may increase.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Unless you can afford to pay out-of-pocket for exorbitant medical expenses, purchasing pet insurance may prove to be beneficial for your wallet and your fur baby’s health should disaster strike. When you’re up against jaw-droppingly expensive vet bills, pet insurance can reimburse much more than what you pay in premiums. More importantly, it can ensure that your beloved pet stays in good shape for years to come, so you can create more wonderful memories together.

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